UPDATE: Our Garmin S4 Golf Watch Review is a little bit dated. We still think this is a great watch, but the new Garmin Approach S20 outshines the Garmin S4 and the S20 doesn’t cost that much more. The S20 includes distances to hazards, where the S4 only includes layups and doglegs. The S20 has quite a few additional features that we like as well, but the hazard information alone is enough to justify the price difference in our opinion.
We’ve read dozens of user reviews and put the S4 to the test on several golf courses. First, let’s just say this is the slickest golf watch on the market and it does so many things well that it is our top pick in the golf watch category.
Garmin S4 Golf Watch User Rating:
4.06 out of 5 (276 reviews)
Score compiled from multiple sources.
For all it’s features, it is remarkably simple to navigate. The screen is easy to see and one touch will get you layup distances to the 50, 100, 150 and 200-yard markers. The touchscreen is perfectly responsive (once you realize it’s not supposed to be quite as sensitive to touch as your smartphone), the green view, scorecard and shot measuring features couldn’t be easier with dedicated buttons on the side of the watch. To move the pin, you press the green view button and press and drag your finger to the pin location and the distance will adjust. To enter your score, press the scorecard button and adjust the number of shots and easily add putts and fairways if you want. The watch calculates greens in regulation for you. If you use the scorecard on the first hole, it automatically pops up at the end of each hole, making it even more convenient. For all of that, the Garmin S4 is perfect!
There is one issue and it may be a factor for a few buyers. The S4 has the ability to connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth and display your text messages, emails, and other notifications right on the watch. It’s easy to pair the watch with your phone and amazingly unobtrusive. A small box displays the number of new messages on the screen when there are new messages. You can tap it to view the messages. The font for the messages is quite small, but you can adjust it by pressing the face once or twice and then scroll to read the whole message. You can easily go back and forth between your distances and your notifications. So what’s the issue? If you get too far away from your phone, the Bluetooth sometimes disconnects and does not always automatically reconnect. It won’t happen if you keep your phone in your pocket or clipped to your belt, but it happened way too often when the phone was left in the cart. Reconnecting wasn’t difficult, but it meant getting the phone out and turning the Bluetooth off and then back on. That defeats the purpose of having notifications in the first place, so for those who would use it with the intention of leaving it in a golf cart, don’t count on that feature. We reached out to other users and those who walked with their clubs and they had not experienced the problem. Even with this issue, we still think this coolest golf GPS watch on the market.
- can display text and email messages and other notifications from your iPhone.
- high resolution touchscreen easily readable even in bright sunlight
- provides distance to the front, middle and back of every green, plus layups and doglegs.
- dedicated “green view” button for easy access to manual pin positioning
- detailed stat tracking
- preloaded with over 30,000 golf courses
- battery life lasts up to 10 hours in GPS mode.
- waterproof to 10 meters
- allows the creation of custom yardage points
|Model||Garmin S4 Golf Watch|
|Course Download Fees||No|
|Pre-loaded with Courses||Yes|
|Battery Life||10 hrs GPS / 6 wks|
|Measure Shot Distance||Yes|
|Resolution||128 x 128|
|Display Type||hi-res touchscreen|
|Rainproof||Yes (10 meters)|
|Manual Pin Positioning||Yes|
|Computer Analysis Tools||Yes|
|Aerial Hole View||No|
|Green Rotates to your shot angle||N/A|
|Add Courses Manually||No|
|USGA Compliant (local rule)||Yes|
|Notes||Can receive email, text messages and notifications from smartphone. You can also print your scorecard from you computer after your round.|
|Where to Buy|
|We work very hard to obtain the correct information about product features, but cannot make any guarantees about the accuracy. Please double check with the merchant or manufacturer before making a purchase.|